Ever had your mobile phone suddenly drop out mid-way through an important call, or lost your internet connection right when you’re sending that job application in before the cut off time?
Unfortunately these IT connection killers are all too frequent, causing intense frustration and the unleashing of rage and abuse towards our IT devices and the service providers who supposedly deliver uninterrupted connections.
But without realising it, most of us directly contribute to our very own social connection killers. Here’s my top 5:
- Texting, taking phone calls, checking emails, or searching the web in a social setting
- Regularly being late for, double booking, cancelling or postponing social engagements
- Forgetting planned events, important occasions or significant dates
- Not returning calls, replying to messages or acknowledging others’ attempts to make contact
- Talking over the top of people or constantly changing the conversation back to you.
These connection killers have the potential to send messages such as: this conversation isn’t really important to me, I don’t value your time as much as mine, I’m not that committed to the plans we made, I don’t value our relationship so much.
We pretty much always have a good justification or reason for these behaviours – we’re really busy, something unplanned or more important comes up, we have our own needs to meet, it won’t matter this once…. But when these behaviours become habitual, and when we continue to justify them with these excuses, they become social connection killers. We soon find ourselves in social ‘black spots’ where our once strong and clear social signals start breaking up and dropping out.
Of course the odd mobile phone call taken during dinner or a cancelled coffee is not going to ruin a friendship, but over time these connection killers will impact on our ability to form and maintain strong, nurturing and rewarding connections with others. Gradually over time, the message ‘I don’t value you’ becomes louder and stronger, and even the most in tact relationships are tested.
Positive relationships are one of the most fundamental components of happiness and well-being. As humans we thrive because we are able to cultivate and value social connection. But frenetic lifestyles, and increasing slavery to the technology that we created to free up our time, is undermining our capacity to connect with people deeply and meaningfully.
We have hundreds of opportunities to connect with others every day. What can you do to strengthen those connections, and which connection killers do you need to work on? Can you commit to being on time, practice your listening skills, find small ways to let others know you value them, and maintain your full attention on the people in the room, rather than allowing yourself to be distracted by those that aren’t? And next time you’re out socially, leave the iPad at home and see how long you can keep the mobile in your bag!
Call or email me to discuss how coaching can help you change your connection killers and give you tools to strengthen relationships that matter.